Passion of The Game of Bridge

Where is All Of The Courtesy, Maybe It’s Hiding…

Where is All Of The Courtesy, Maybe It’s Hiding…

Bridge is supposed to be a gentlemen games where all the conventions and systems are disclosed to opponent, play nobly and courteously just like the Royals with just hidden smirk when you score a top on a board. But somehow, it’s not happening anymore… Playing normal weekly session at your local club could be distressing as opponents scream each other between board, husbands try to dominates wives, wives screaming to husband, etc… Reducing the enjoyment of the game itself.

Is it a typical events on the table happening all over the world?

The thing is, some of the argument are mostly silly and only valid with the benefit of the hindsight. Sometimes, I have to put off all itchiness and desire to correct all those people – for the sake of the game. It just tickles my soul. Let see 2 examples below:

  1. My LHO (North) was a dealer and open 1 standard – better minor with 12-19 points. My partner jump to 2 (weak  6-10pts with at least 6+cd). All vulnerable.The RHO correctly double with 1-4-4-4, 15 points. My card? 5-5-0-3 (Spade fits at least 6-5 with partner) with 0 (zero) points. (Another $1000 from Mr Yarborough, please). What should I bid? yes, of course 4 ! and 3 ‘Pass’-es.
    North East South West
    1 2 X 4
    Pass Pass Pass

    With no doubles, we can actually have zero trick (not winning anything) and still a top score. But my partner manages to have only 6 tricks for -400. I almost sure one of the opponent got a happy smirk on their face BEFORE the score was revealed: only 2 bid 3NT and made, the rest of the field play 6 minor and easily made.

    Then the rest of 3 minutes before the next board was full with yelling and “why you did not do this and that” type of conversation and totally disregard our presence (and dominance, of course) – The point they are missing is , it is the tactical bid from opponent that block them away from knowing their fit and value of the hand. It was not really anybody fault.

    Not to boast, but I guess, people tends to remember the past mistake and then everybody try to put blame of the next mishap as their fault. This is probably quite common among players. Disrespecting partner and opponent, and jeopardizing their own system that probably should not be changed at all. This is where you really need a coach.

  2. Some people just want to bid, regardless of the quality of their hand. But their partners forget to address this and “fix” something else that probably irrelevant. (Remember “Pass” is still a bid)
    Let see the distribution below. After LHO, partner and RHO pass, sitting West,  I open 1 with 19 points solid 6 cards , LHO passed and partner bid 1 . As partner has passed before, I can see at least 3NT or possible slam if the point is right (as literally I have 8 tricks on hand already). And before comeback to me , suddenly my RHO bid 2. Really?
    [Underbid 6D?]

    Underbid 6

    South West North East
    Pass Pass
    Pass 1 Pass 1
    2 3 Pass 3NT
    Pass Pass Pass

    I should just jump bid to 3 regardless, but now that I don’t have stopper, playing 3NT could be disastrous.  I bid 3, asking a stopper from partner and partner does have Jxxx and bid 3NT confidently. As I did not under estimate the opponent, I would figure that all honors will be divided between South and East.  Therefore those Club points become less valuable if I were to play 6. I rest at 3NT and partner got a lead of 10 of Heart and made 12 trick as South ditch one of the during run.

    With club leads, only 9 tricks were available. And as you guess it, North become so furious why South did not lead Clubs and start giving lecture about appropriate lead reasoning. This is exactly my point, the problem with South was the inappropriate overcall (suit too weak, points too small) – especially on vulnerable board. This did not really “discussed”. While as for the lead, 10 of heart is not that bad. Maybe SQ is better, but the lead is quite okay.

    As for me, I accepted that 6D is quite hard to bid.

With those 2 examples above, back to the question: is it really there is no courtesy anymore (to partner or to opponent)?  Isn’t it partner worth more than the prize or masterpoint awarded for the winner?  It’s like social bridge become live and dead situation with so much anger and emotion.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found it quite annoying.

My 2 cents…

If it worth 2 cents, let me say this. Without partner, no one really can play bridge – at least good enjoyable-quality game. And if you treat your partner very badly, nobody will want to partner with you anymore eventually, and you cannot enjoy bridge anymore.

People make mistakes and it only makes them human. So, what I can suggest to improve partnership are:

  1. Get a coach. More experience/ technical friends that will help with technical matter. Don’t decide based on individual case. Because it could be good for that particular board, but in wider use, it could be not really good.
  2. On every play, get a small book (A5 size o B5 size) for each of you, and write down the board and problem arose during that session. These days usually you get the distribution of all board at the end of the session anyway, if not, just take note of the distribution as well. Don’t discuss anything during the session.
    After the session, over a cup of cappuccino or McDonald, check the notebook and discuss the pitfall and problems, and how it can be resolved in the future. Ideally, if your “coach” is present, it will be perfect.
  3. Do update regularly a written convention book just for you and partner. Everytime you discuss something update the book and make it a reference. This way, you can see the growth of your partnership in term of system and the maturity of the system itself as it being used. Then everybody is happy.

On the table ? Just laugh it off and have a little chat with opponent. It will be much more pleasure experience. For sure !

Good luck !


  1. Bonnie /

    I’m just learning how to play bridge. I haven’t even played a game, yet. I’m getting cold feet. I’m too nervous.

    • Hi Bonnie, Don’t be afraid… start with beginner practice session (sometime they call it ‘Supervised’ session) Here you can call the teacher or director to ask for advice ! Until you got enough confidence to ‘fight’ the bigger guys.. 🙂

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